Thursday, June 25, 2009
Before the 2003 police raid on the B.C. Legislature, Gordo knew they were coming and there was time to destroy evidence
Years have passed. In 2009, we know Gordon Campbell much better. We know him as a micro-manager with an obsessive determination to have his own way. Given his style of leaving almost nothing written into the record on the BC Rail deal (not even the deal itself!) ... and given the deletion of 4 years' worth of relevant e-mails ... does it seem logical that Gordo sat with hands folded and a bag over his head for the 3 weeks in December 2003 during which he knew without a shadow of doubt that uniformed police would come looking for evidence? And while police were knocking on Christy Clark's door, Erik Bornmann's door and others' ... didn't any policemen show up at Gordo's door?? - BC Mary
The Legislature Raids - January 16, 2008
By Three Concerned Canadians
During the month of December 2003, key people in the B.C. legislature knew that an unprecedented police raid was coming. The public ever since has been asked to assume that the Campbell government and staff sat meekly for 28 days, doing nothing to protect themselves. We question that assumption, in the light of the Special Prosecutor's continuing refusal or inability to disclose documents required by the Basi, Virk, Basi Defence.
Dec. 1, 2003 - B. C. Attorney General Geoff Plant is told by his staff that a case requires the appointment of a special prosecutor and may involve a search of the B.C. legislature.
Dec. 7, 2003 - Mandeep Sandhu is elected to the executive of the Liberals in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.
Dec. 9, 2003 - Police raid Mandeep Sandhu's home in Saanich. Police question Sandhu and seize a computer. Sandhu is later released. No charges are laid.
Dec. 11, 2003 - William Berardino is appointed special prosecutor to oversee an investigation involving a member of the Victoria police and appointees at the legislature.
From: IN DEPTH - B.C. RAIDS. CBC News Online, Sept 14,2004.
This CBC snippet says that the appointment of Berardino on December 11, 2003 involved a member of Victoria police (since charged and convicted of obstruction of justice); and that it also involved "appointees at the legislature". Does it matter whether the Special Prosecutor was David Harris or William Berardino? The point is: a special prosecutor was appointed without public knowledge of it. Hansard records the Opposition Leader's protests in the legislature, which will be mentioned later.
Complicating factors not yet mentioned by the Basi Virk Basi Defence team entered this scene in December 2003.
Bill Berardino was appointed by then-Attorney General Geoff Plant with whom Berardino had formerly been in practice. Is this an arm's length appointment? Or was it the basis for building a collegial team?
Special Prosecutor for the different set of events leading up to the Legislature “raids” was David Harris (p.8, item 57, Application for Disclosure). He was not at arm's length, either. Harris was the law partner of Bill Berardino. Harris was the one giving legal advice on the day of the raids. Was this a collegial team beginning its work?
And then there is the intersecting relationships between Plant, Berardino and Harris....when presto! Harris is strangely supplanted by Berardino. When? Why?
But then Harris seems to have disappeared. Bill Berardino, apparently, added matters concerning the Legislature raids to his responsibilities.
When? Why? asks Robin Mathews.
"Can we see a pattern in the extraordinary Application for Disclosure of February 26, 2007? To an average, concerned, and reasonably intelligent observer, a pattern seems to appear throughout which suggests the Special Prosecutor has been utterly unable or unwilling to fulfill his responsibilities, and that the RCMP has been careless or purposefully obstructive in producing essential materials. I would say it also reveals that the presiding judge has failed to be in control and to insist upon the speedy, competent, fair, and full opening up of materials essential to a trial of integrity." - Robin Mathews. Vive le Canada, March 5, 2007.
The word "collusion" springs to mind. In the month of December, 2003 -- even though the legislature came together on a special sitting of December 16, 2003 -- not a word was said about the appointments of two special prosecutors for two ongoing and intertwining investigations.
The list gets longer about the number of people who knew these investigations were underway before the raid on the legislature even took place. And it is really hard to imagine that the ever-controlling duo of Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown were kept out of that loop. What it looks like -- dare we say it? -- is a team seemingly coming together ... doing what??
Now we should look at Hansard Debates. This quote from Hansard Debates is an important part to take into consideration. MacPhail begins a series of questions about what she calls the "secret appointment" of Berardino in early December.
From line 1920 to the end of the page is very interesting - (Coleman constantly tries to skirt the issue of the exact date of the appointment of Berardino). MacPhail does remember and she is clearly tying it into a memory of a special meeting of the legislature called about the IWA.:
J. MacPhail [Leader of the Opposition]: Yes, I know. The special prosecutor was appointed in early December, and clearly, the Solicitor General is saying that the Attorney General didn't tell him anything about that. What role, if any, is then required of the Solicitor General? The Legislature was sitting while the special prosecutor was appointed. We had a special sitting to deal with ordering IWA workers back. Cabinet was meeting, the building was busy, and there'd been a special prosecutor appointed that no one knew about — no one knew about.
The Hansard debate list for December 2003 reveals that the legislators break for Christmas holidays on December 2. Hansard clearly shows them wishing each other happy holidays, the Lt-Governor Campagnolo is called in to formalize the closure of the sitting, etc.
But then you will notice a "special" return of the legislature on Dec. 16 (just as Joy said) with the forest issues clearly on the agenda. (That may have been an oh-so-convenient excuse that allowed some of the BCLibs to assemble without people wondering why. This may be cynical - but on the face of it, the people of B.C. have lots of reasons to be cynical.)
Isn't it the appointment itself, without public knowledge of it, (and taking place before the raids) that is the essential question here? And that there was time to have tampered with documents held by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport, or their Ministerial Assistants before the raid took place?
Because to launch their unprecedented raid, the RCMP had to seek the consent of the Speaker of the House in order to enter "his" House. Solicitor General Rich Coleman was aware of that. But it is not clear why he felt he had to accompany the RCMP on a flight to Kamloops to obtain Claude Richmond's signature. What was his role in this trip? Whose side was he protecting?
So a special prosecutor could have been appointed on or around Dec. 11, 2003, which is 17 days -- more than 2 weeks -- before the raids.
This was a government 2 years into its 4-year mandate with a massive majority of 77 Members and a 2-Member Opposition. Had they grown sloppy? Possibly. For example, Notice of Application for Disclosure, para 53 ... without specifying where the information came from ... does say this: "On the application for the search warrants, they advised Mr Justice Dohm that Minister Collins was not a target of their investigation." The astute observer might doubt that such a statement could have any credence on that date (December 12, 2003).
So if they had made some errors in judgment, would a powerful sitting government be eager to help in revealing any shocking displays of its own dirty laundry? We don't think so. We think there more likely would have been an almost irresistible urge to cover up evidence.
Look: There was time. There was a motive. There was opportunity. There was a team. There was the quietness of the Legislature at Christmas when many people were off duty. Survival -- even political survival -- creates strong temptations. The human mind might well consider tampering with documentary evidence in the offices of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport, or their Ministerial Assistants with so much quiet time before the raid took place. Who would ever know?
The facts show that the police raid on the B.C. Legislature could not possibly have been a surprise to the sitting government for a full 28 days.
The facts show that the sitting government did not maintain an arm's length approach.
Consider this, by Robin Mathews:
"More important by far are the substantial reasons Defence counsel give for the Application [for Disclosure]. I will cite only some of the most revealing ones.
(1) They state that (item 38, page 5) “On November 17, 2003, the RCMP learned through a series of intercepted communications that Mr. Basi advised OmniTRAX that Minister [Gary] Collins, [minister of finance] had authorized a consolation prize [perhaps a veiled bribe?] for Omnitrax in exchange for them staying in the bidding process…”[for B.C. Rail]. [Negotiations with OmniTRAX for the Roberts Bank spur line were terminated later on advice from the RCMP that the matter was tainted.] Minister Collins met with omniTRAX representatives on December 12, 2003, (page 8, item 62) but “the RCMP elected not to conduct any further investigation of Minister Collins”.
So one day after the appointment of Berardino on Dec. 11, Collins is meeting with Omnitrax on Dec. 12 - and even with a special prosecutor in place, and the wiretap tip about Collins and the "consolation prize".... no further investigation of Collins is decided. (And it is quickly said after the raid that no government officials are involved.)
The heart of these questions: Could such matters be causing the bewildering efforts by the government, 4 years later, still desperately seeking to avoid disclosure?
Isn't it logical to assume that the same sitting government in 2008 would quite honestly be unable to provide documents which had been destroyed in December 2003? Do Basi, Virk, or Basi know? And if they know, will they break the logjam by giving that evidence?
The people of British Columbia must judge these matters for themselves as the pre-trial hearings continue: January 18, January 28, January 29, 2008. The trial for the 3 lesser players in these scenes, may begin on March 17, 2008. We hope so.
I have found only one direct quote from Campbell: "I heard that it had to do potentially with money laundering and drugs. That's the extent of it," Campbell said of his briefing. "Everything the solicitor-general [Rich Coleman] did, was done with the approval of the RCMP." My hastily scribbled note says only "Page 3" indicating that it came from the 8,000-page document dump at the Basi Virk trial. - BC Mary.
This is far beyond the purview of the provincial courts anymore, or should be. Not that the Harper Tories, or the Ignatieff Liberals for that matter, have the teeth or gumption to launch their own investigation of collusion between the provincial government (including hte provincial Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, and Finance Minister, among others - and most likely the Preem himself), Justice Dohm, the RCMP and others (e.g. Patrick Kinsella, Ken Dobell). But it's high time a press conference was held in Ottawa, even if only by private citizens, requesting the Solicitor-General, or failing him, a Commons or Senate inquiry into the miscarriage of justice in regard to this case - and the apparent illegality of the sale of BC Rail....and who knows what else in the way of skullduggery and immoral political behaviour in regard to Accenture/BC Hydro, the run-of-the-river deals, BC Ferries, BC Gas/Terasen and and and and ......
Was Glen Clark given advance notice of the televised raid on his house? A whole month's worth?
Odd, isn't it, that Liberal propagandists will still claim that the NDP regime of the 1990s was "the most scandal-ridden government in British Columbia history"?
How many cabinet ministers have resigned either willingly or otherwise since Campbell took power? I'd forgotten about Sandy Santori....what's the full list? And of MLAs like Nettleton and Cardoso who couldn't stomach the whiff of offal around their caucus and cabinet any longer?
Kudos to Joy mcPhail, as leader of the two-member Unofficial Opposition, for zeroing in on all this - even though thanks to our suckhole major media the public never got to hear any of it.
I hope Morley Safer is following your blog now.....he certainly should be.
Whatever name reporter/broadcaster takes this on and writes a book is going to sell a lot of books. Untangling what is so clearly a conspiracy, and which the NDP would be being flayed alive on a daily basis, is the stuff of a major documentary investigation - if only Safer or another ex-Canuck working in the media would step up to bat; because clearly the CBC, CTV and CanWest have no intentions of saying or doing anything about this, other than helping to shush it up.
As always other events are upstaging the revelations of dirt; the non-news that Vancouver is the centre of methamphetamine production, the Iranian crisis, the swine flu scare, etc.
And about Michael Smyth's piece - critical of the Grits though it is, he is perpetrating the notion that deleted emails are recoverable. Has anyone gone and asked some computer forensics experts? No - they're just playing along with the Liberal "too bad, so sad" smugness that the evidence is unrecoverable, or like various Anonymous PAB gnomes in your blog and Bill's an the newspaper forums, trying to shift the topic into the unrelated drug charges, or to try and blame the NDP for it even being an issue.
Disgusting, shocking, appalling - all those words are too weak to describe this whole sorry mess. What's also very disturbing is the number of people willing to tug the forelock to keep the lies rolling....
We know that there was a flurry of communications going on during that time as well and it wasn't anything to do with items like..."What are the visiting hours for the drunk tank?" or "Do you have an American lawyer phone number handy?".
The conversation going on between the Cabinet and their Leader, our Premier, was something that should be available via FOI, not only because it was the first instance that a BC provincial premier had been charged with DUI (Alberta's DUI Premier duly noted) but because its a snapshot of what its like to be a BC Liberal Cabinet Minister during Christmas break. Who did Campbell phone first, was it Deputy Premier Christie Clark, no, it was Gary Collins...........
Do you know of any other sites that are keeping up with Mary's...other than Laila's that is... :)
With his response to my message (maybe I worded it wrong, or gave the impression I'm a card-carrying member of the NDP)...I'm not sure a request for an injunction would carry any weight with the courts. Or did I misunderstand his response entirely?
No matter, Harv's article is excellent! I wish he'd come out of retirement and teach a new crop of budding journalists how to ask the right people the correct questions!
Come to think of it...we need a whole province full of Robin Mathews, Harvey O's, Mary's and Laila's to get people mad enough to pay attention! :))))